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Mark Sealey
MusicWeb International, May 2010

If you’re looking to be soothed or stimulated by relatively conventional—lakes, woods, mountains, castles, mists—but extremely well shot sequences of Bavaria, this DVD will probably suit you well…you do get an atmospheric and somewhat lingeringly romantic account of Brahms Second by the BRT (Belgian Radio and Television) Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Rahbari taken from Naxos 8.550279. The rarer—thus welcome—In Memoriam Heinrich von Kleist, Op. 13 by Joachim was composed in the same year (1877) from 8.554733. This is usually referred to as the Elegische Ouverture; and since only one (other) recording of the piece is currently available (on Marco Polo 8.220190), it’s a bonus to have it as background to the fifth and final chapter of the DVD, which is devoted to Herrenchiemsee. The performance by the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra under Minsky is idiomatic if a little dry in acoustic…Nevertheless, you can enjoy the music: the Brahms, though a little boxed-in, is a creditable account in particular. And you can certainly be gently absorbed by the visual component: just when the sequences have been largely ‘arable’, in amble the cows; and after several exteriors, comes an interior scene. Extensive vistas alternate with close-ups—of fireplaces or altarpieces. There has been some attempt to pace the video to the sound in that ‘panning’, focus and nearness of a subject—and the abrupt change of shot at the start of the recapitulation of the Brahms’ fourth movement, for example—tend to accord with progress of the music…particularly at the start and end of movements. This is not overdone and rarely intrudes…But this DVD is so modestly priced for its wealth of input for ear and eye that it can be recommended…

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